Viewed through the canvases of abstract art giants such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, the Cubist movement encapsulated an entirely new visual language that permeated the art world. At once two-dimensional and thought-provoking, Cubist artists were swept away with the idea that they could deviate from the traditional, accepted notions of painting. While earlier academic artists were pre-occupied with painting truth to nature, the Cubists created an art that stemmed from the desire to challenge the conventional forms of representation.
Often, these modern artistic innovations are thought to be associated with technical advancements at the turn of the 19th century: the emergence of industrialization, development of photography, the motor car, and air travel. It is to no surprise, therefore, that artists reflected on these changes in pioneering ways.
By upending old tried and true methods of painting that had served art for the past four centuries, such as perspective and foreshortening, Cubists abandoned old techniques in favor of new ones. Artists now explored new methods of opening forms, blending background into foreground, and showing one object fragmented and from various angles. In the same instance groundbreaking, distorted, and abstracted, these new stylistic techniques yielded prompt recognition and regard.
While Picasso and Braque are credited with creating this monumental movement, it was developed and further adopted by many others, such as French artist Max Papart (1911-1924). The contemporary tendencies and audaciousness of Cubist art completely enamored Papart, and his working style shifted to embrace the ideals of modern art form.
The pioneering spirit of this movement is evident in his work, Nu Debout dans un Intérieur. At once radical and innovative, this painting shows how he incorporated the revolutionary ideals of Cubism on canvas. Papart invites the viewer to witness a female form not as we see it in reality, but from multiple vantage points. Almost like an exploration of perspective, the surface is thick with overlapping planes and geometrically constructing shapes. Painting as if viewed through a fragmented lens, this compelling work is a testament to Papart’s mastery of the Cubist aesthetic.
In the years after the development of this style, the importance of Cubism is still far reaching. Though primarily associated with painting, the Cubist movement exerted profound influence on architecture, interior design, and furniture. Cubist artists, like Max Papart, paved the way for non-representational art by uniting the scene and the two-dimensionality of the canvas.